Hassan Rohani’s adviser on ethnic and religious minority affairs says the many languages in Iran are like branches of the Academy of Persian Language, stressing that the Rohani administration is determined to have Iran’s local languages and literatures taught in the country’s schools and universities.
Ali Younesi said: “The many languages of Iran are treasures and resources that have preserved our culture, our words and our literature.”
He added that the teaching of local dialects not only helps preserve those languages but also guarantees the continuity of the Persian language.
Since the Rohani government took power, the issue of teaching mother tongues in local schools been thrown into the foreground. While Younesi has often expressed support for the teaching of local dialects and languages in schools across the country, no practical steps have been taken so far in this regard.
Rohani received the majority of votes in Kurdistan, Sistan-Baluchistan and Western Azerbaijan provinces, where a large proportion of Iran’s minorities live.
Article 15 of the constitution holds that the official and shared language of the Iranian people is Persian, and official documents, correspondence and texts as well as school textbooks should be in this language. However, the use of local and ethnic languages in the media, and the teaching of their literature in schools alongside Persian is permitted.
The establishment of an Academy of the Azeri Language and Literature and a House of Ethnic Groups for the Kurdish community residing in the capital are among the promises Younesi has made to Iran’s minority groups.